Dallas Stars 2015-16 Player Grades: Vernon Fiddler

I like Fiddler, he's the only one on this team that's older than me.

Vern Fiddler is, undeniably, a grizzled veteran player who is, probably, beloved of teammates and fans and sometimes his coach. In a world of carbon copy cutouts of maple leaf shaped people he's a refreshing goofball who isn't afraid to make fun of himself and other people.

I mean look at this guy at the Stars' hospital visit at Christmas time:

Source: bennyandthestars

He looks out for his younger teammates still trying to adjust to traffic laws in the States:

Source: emilyisobsessed

This is the end of a hilarious story about being stuck in traffic and seeing Val Nichushkin speeding down the shoulder, told on Stars Insider in December. It's nice to know that someone is looking for the streets of Dallas. He's also proven his two-stepping abilities on Stars Insider in the past, and is a frequent winner for no discernible reason during Razor's mid-game quiz show packages.

Off the ice, Fiddler is anything but average. On the ice? Well, he has certainly had his moments but, for the most part, is stunningly average in very many ways.

Fiddler spent most of this season on the fourth line, playing only 11 minutes a game, the lowest average since his rookie season. His most regular linemate was Colton Sceviour, and they had a rotating cast as their third, most frequently Patrick Eaves, Travis Moen, and Ales Hemsky.

The good:

Though he spent most of the season on the fourth line, his possession numbers stayed consistent with his last few years and even showed improvement over 2010-2013.

His on-ice scoring chances for also saw an increase this season.

(Both of these charts are looking at 5v5.)

The bad:

While his CF% and his On-Ice Scoring Chances For % both went up this season, those are team statistics, and the entire team was better this year than they've been for quite some time. While Fiddler was certainly a cog in that wheel, he was a smaller cog, a fourth line cog. Sceviour had very similar numbers, for instance, as they spent most of their season together.

Despite improving his possession over last season, his average for the season is under 50%.

The ugly:

In 82 games this season, Fiddler had 6 goals and 2 primary assists in 5v5 play, giving him a primary points per 60 average of .66 at 5v5. That average is on pace with other 3rd and 4th liners, but on the low end of this average.

Not necessarily ugly, but still a point against him, Fiddler turned 36 this May. While I will always appreciate having players on my team that are older than me (he is currently the only one), he's certainly not getting any younger, Benjamin Button style. We've already seen a decline in minutes per game and point production over the last several seasons, and I don't think we've found the bottom of his production yet.

Final thoughts:

Fiddler's contract is up this summer and there's a decent chances this is his last season in Dallas. It's anyone's guess as to whether Jim Nill thinks there's a spot for an aging 36 year old forward on a team of young guns. There's a chance that Vern Fiddler has played his last game as a Star and if that's true this the picture in this tweet just got a whole lot sadder.

How would you grade Vern Fiddlers season?